Tuesday, Jul 23, 2024

Megillah 29: When Less is More

On this daf, we find some teachings about Parshas Shekalim.

Rav Nosson of Breslov imparts an important explanation of the mitzvah to give machatzis hashekel, the half-shekel offering. We give a half-shekel to represent the building of the Mishkon (the original reason for giving the offering) or donating money for sacrifices (our sages compare both tefillah and Torah study to sacrifices). When building holiness, we need to “halve” our burning desire to serve Hashem, to constrict our endless yearning so that we are not overwhelmed by it. After this constriction, we can serve Hashem, each one according to his level.

We give three half-shekalim because this is the number of times that the offering is mentioned in Parshas Shekalim. Of course, doing this once is not enough. We must keep on doing this until it is second nature and we are not allowing our fiery desire for our Source to hinder us in our journey to Hashem. Often, spiritual backsliding happens to those who, in a sudden burst of enthusiasm, take on more than they can handle. “Take hold of too much and you have taken hold of nothing.” Doing a little at a time is the way to go (Otzar Hayirah).

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